Why a Facelift Costs Less Than a Knee Replacement

Between 1998 and 2017 prices for “Medical Care Services” in the US (as measured by the BLS’s CPI for Medical Care Services) more than doubled (+105.3 percent increase) while the CPI for “Hospital and Related Services” (data here) nearly tripled (+189.3 percent increase). Those increases in the costs of medical-related services compared to only a 50.3 percent increase in overall consumer prices over that period (BLS data here). On an annual basis, the costs of medical care services in the US have increased almost 4 percent per year since 1998 and the cost of hospital services increased annually by 5.8 percent.

In contrast, overall inflation averaged only 2.2 percent annually over that period. The only consumer product or service that has increased more than medical care services and about the same as hospital costs over the last several decades is college tuition and fees, which have increased nearly 6 percent annually since 1998 for public universities.

One of the reasons that the costs of medical care services in the